Squad ready to keep the roads moving as winter weather moves in

Councillor Moira Smith with South Tyneside Council highways and infrastructure manager Dave Carr.
Councillor Moira Smith with South Tyneside Council highways and infrastructure manager Dave Carr.

Teams are in gear ready to ensure South Tyneside’s roads are kept clear as the colder weather begins to hit.

South Tyneside Council says it is working with South Tyneside Homes and the emergency services to safeguard vulnerable residents, keep roads as clear as possible and ensure any disruption to services is kept to an absolute minimum.

South Tyneside Council's gritters are ready for the cold weather.

South Tyneside Council's gritters are ready for the cold weather.

With gullies cleaned out, four gritting vehicles on standby and 7,000 tonnes of salt stockpiled, the council says it is ready to respond to any cold snaps.

The authority says operations will focus on major roads, bus routes and steep banks as well as priority footpaths in shopping areas, around schools and on steps and footbridges.

Early gritting will take place on priority routes as and when the temperature drops.

Councillor Moira Smith, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “Our workers are ready to react quickly to any sudden changes in conditions and are dedicated to working around the clock if necessary to keep the borough moving and to maintain public safety.

Our workers are ready to react quickly to any sudden changes in conditions and are dedicated to working around the clock if necessary to keep the borough moving and to maintain public safety.

Councillor Moira Smith

“We always pre-salt our priority routes ahead of the ice and snow coming, with pre-salt runs triggered by advance weather forecasts from the Met Office.

“Though it is important to note that the effect of rock salt depends to a great extent on moving traffic to make it work effectively – it is not an immediate fix.

“Our highways maintenance team will continue to clear roads and footpaths of snow and ice for as long as is needed to keep disruption to a minimum, which is good news for households, communities, school runs and businesses.

“However, we would like to remind people that we must clear our planned routes first and would ask for patience during these times.”

The council operates a night shift up to the end of March and has a fleet of four gritting wagons and a towable gritter.

There are also six pedestrian-operated salt spreaders and 30 hand salters for hard-to-reach footway areas.

It maintains more than 160 grit bins that are used to help clear footpaths, shopping centre and anywhere which may be hazardous to the public in the event of ice and snow.

The council says these bins are available to staff in their gritting operations and are not for private use.

Gritting the Borough’s 311km of priority routes takes around 2.5 hours to complete.